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Voting on election day 2020: Everything you need to have and do to vote


You may need these items to vote.

James Martin / CNET

This story is part of Val 2020, CNET̵

7;s coverage of the introduction of the vote in November.

Voting is not as simple as driving to a polling station or asking for one postal voting – there are steps you need to take to ensure that you are prepared to vote Election day, which is November 3 this year. For example, you must be registered to vote and you may need to bring a specific form of identification to the polls.

In response to coronavirus pandemic, many states are now opening absence or post-vote to all citizens. You can also choose to vote early at your polling station if it is offered in your state. Here is everything you need to vote on election day.

You must be registered to vote

The first step in voting in the presidential election is to register to vote. If you have registered to vote before but then changed your name, moved to another location, have not voted in the last four years or want to change political parties (or change to or from independent voter status), you I must register.

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What to bring if you vote in person

Here are some things to keep in mind vote in elections on election day. Note that all states have different rules, so it is best to call ahead to make sure you have everything you need.

Photo ID: This may include a driver’s license, military ID, college ID and government-issued government ID. Call your polling station or visit your voter page online to see which forms of ID are accepted.

Proof of residence: Some states may require you to take proof that you live at your address. This can include a bank statement, electricity bill or your driver’s license and can also be acceptable in digital form.

Social security number: If you do not have a photo ID with you, some states, such as Washington, will let you vote if you enter the last four digits of your social security number.


Make sure you are registered to vote.

James Martin / CNET

What you need if you vote by mail

In order to vote by mail, you must request an absent vote if your permit does not automatically send out the form. Many states do not need a reason for you to vote by mail this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, but some still do.

In the e-mail ballot, you must provide personal identification information, such as your social security number or driver’s license number.

Do you need more information about voting? Here is what happens to the USPS crisis and how it may affect the election, when early voting begins in all U.S. states and how to vote safely if you vote in person. And if you are not sure if you are registered to vote, here’s how to find out.

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